Glitch art is part of the contemporary movement focusing on distorted imagery that mimics how images are digitally presented. Glitch tattoos are just a play on that theme that are very trippy and playful. When this tattoo trend first emerged it was common to find established images like Michelangelo’s David or da Vinci’s Mona Lisa “glitched” to comment on how art is mediated in today’s world.
Now, glitch tattoos can encompass an entire world all their own with original artwork, words, and more getting the trippy treatment. We decided to take a deep dive into the world of these weird tattoos to discover the limits and possibilities of this genre. Buckle up! It’s about to get wild! Check out these 25 trippy glitch tattoos that distort our sense of reality and ask viewers to adjust their focus.
This breathtaking portrait tattoo looks as if you are seeing a face through a drop of water or a wet piece of glass. We love the way pastels have been used here to soften the image that’s so skewed by wavy lines.
This glitch tattoo is a fine example of photorealism meets distortion. We love the movement the splashes of water bring to this piece and how the visual interruption looks like waves of the ocean.
Glitch or Bust
Here’s an example of a bust that you will commonly find in Roman statuary that’s easily recognizable as such. It works so well as a glitch tattoo because the effect is subverting how you are used to seeing the image. We love the inclusion of color here which really helps warm up this design.
Here, we find a gorgeous temple that’s feeling a little wobbly. Again, glitch tattoos offer artists a way to collapse the divide between realism and surrealism in such an interesting visual.
Skulls and smiley faces are very common among glitch tattoos. We find an example here with some very melty-looking eyes. The smile is a bit unnerving, but we do not hate it!
Conversely, the glitch skull can also be tattooed to look as if it’s mocking you. As you can see, this skill is a bit more detailed than the last which makes the waves through it appear even more dramatically.
Ada Lovelace, a celebrated English mathematician is credited with being one of the first computer programmers after writing an algorithm in the 19th century that was way ahead of its time. We find a loving tribute and a fitting subject for a glitch tattoo in this design. How dreamy is this!?
This tiger tattoo looks as if it’s been crumpled up like a paper ball and thrown away. We love this super creative design that brings a little whimsy to the traditional cat tattoo genre.
This tattoo of a boy doing a “dab” looks rather hypnotic. We love when people are not taking their glitch tattoos too seriously, they lead to great creations like this one here.
Here’s a glitch tattoo that might be a little too real for some, but we love this melting Windows 98 logo. How many times did you have to restart that operating system when you were younger?
We love a great food tattoo and this one of a banana is no exception. We are not sure if those blue and red outlines are supposed to give this one a 3D effect, but we love it no matter what the intention.
Here, the font of the letters matches the aesthetic of the word they spell. “Dreams” is tattooed here in a dreamy way in this glitch tattoo.
Lost & Found
This tattoo could easily be a reference to the touchstone show, Lost, or it could just be a sentiment the person with it felt they needed tattooed in a strange way. We’re down for both possibilities.
“Endlessness,” the artist who shared this butterfly tattoo captioned it. We love the weird, sharp wing that seems to be stretched to the limit. You do not see many butterfly tattoos like this which makes the design rather refreshing.
Here’s another melty glitch tattoo of a Rubik’s cube that has seen better days. We love the idea of the everyday object or toy being elevated to art and this certainly delivers on that brief.
Brain is Jelly
Say “hello” to a very strange brain and jellyfish hybrid that is covered in black bars and linear distortions. The grainy texture achieved on the surface of the brain truly makes this one look like a digital, pixelated image. What a dream!
Okay! This witchy tattoo imagines the parts of a goat and a man mixed together in a very strange yet satisfying way. We are not sure if this design was inspired by Robert Egger’s film The Witch, but we would not be shocked if it was.
Here, we find a tattoo from a Mexican tattoo artist named Ruben Cuevas Morales that seems to show the Virgin Mary crying. The phenomenon has a storied history in catholicism. Here, the face looks almost tripled or quadrupled with a few sets of eyes and at least four pairs of lips. This one is certainly haunting.
This neon cat glitch tattoo is on a whole different level. There appears to be a laser or bolt of lightning escaping its open mouth. You will notice pixelation, stretching, color distortion and more in this example.
As promised, here is another classical statue that has gotten the glitch treatment. The inclusion of mouse pointer here, really helps nail home commentary on digital mediums.
Here are two hands that appear to be sliced up in this glitch tattoo. We love the way the organic shapes of the hands are visually interrupted by the angular lines cutting through them. What a marvel!
Romance is Dead
“Drowned in wine,” the person who shared this image captioned it. We find a cartoonish heart and wine glass here obscured by a strange bit of pixelation that incorporates the person’s own skin tone into the mix. A wild ride!
“Mujer entre las nubes” translates to “Woman among clouds” and was used as the caption for this fantastic tattoo. It’s another original design from Ruben Cuevas Morales who completed an earlier tattoo on this list. We love his aesthetic that looks both glitchy and surreal at the same time.
Marina Abramović is one of the world’s most celebrated conceptual and performance artists. We find a tribute to her with an iconic image from her piece titled Rest Energy. It is open to interpretation what this person hoped to achieve with it as a glitch tattoo. Color us intrigued.
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Here, we find two matching glitch tattoos that are slightly different with one showing colored bars like you might find on a broadcast TV and the other with static waves. We love the delicate and beautiful frame used to contain both images of chaos. A very trippy and original idea here for these designs.
Well, you managed to keep your focus and make it all the way to end of this list. We hope you enjoyed these glitch tattoos and you will consider one for yourself to keep this stunning trend alive. These truly are remarkable designs that give people a lot to think about when they see them. Bravo!
Andrew is a Chicago-based writer who enjoys finding the best of the internet, obsessively making lists, and cooking for friends. After studying Film and Art History, he developed a deep love for both topics. Celebrity news, pop culture, and stories that bring people together are his passions.
- 1 Through Water
- 2 Shark Splash
- 3 Glitch or Bust
- 4 Pagoda Waves
- 5 Always Smile
- 6 Or Don’t
- 7 Ada Lovelace
- 8 Trippy Tiger
- 9 Dab
- 10 Windows 98
- 11 Bananarama
- 12 Melted Dreams
- 13 Lost & Found
- 14 Endlessness
- 15 Solve It
- 16 Brain is Jelly
- 17 Witchy
- 18 Face It
- 19 Mad Cat
- 20 Click
- 21 Hand Habits
- 22 Romance is Dead
- 23 Girl, Disrupted
- 24 ‘Rest Energy’
- 25 Reflection
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